For the last seven years, Amy Edwards has assisted with LCPS’s summer program for students who need extra help with the English language, doing the kinds of things that motivated young people do for teachers – gathering attendance reports, compiling files, tutoring and helping with logistics when the students’ parents come for workshops.
But this summer she wanted to do more, something more enduring.
“I wanted to do something more than be there,” she said. “I wanted to give them another tool that would be helpful.”
That tool turned out to be the online language learning program Rosetta Stone. Amy took the initiative to contact Rosetta Stone and convince the company to make a donation to the program, now called English Learners Camp. “I reached out to Rosetta Stone and asked them if they would donate licenses, and they donated 25,” she said.
And while she was at it, she set up a GoFundMe page to collect donations to offset camp expenses. She raised $300, which she presented in a check to camp director Claudia Rivera on July 27, the last day of camp.
“I was not counting on the money,” Rivera said. “I knew about the licenses because we had to confirm with the people from Rosetta Stone, but I didn’t know about the money. It was an extra surprise.”
No surprise, though, in Amy Edwards’ devotion to the program, held every summer at Pink Hill Elementary School. The daughter of Carol and Dave Edwards of Kinston and a senior at Arendell Parrott Academy, Amy has been fixture at the camp since she was in the sixth grade and her mother, a former LCPS teacher, taught at the camp.
“She started coming when her mother was working with us. Immediately, she fell in love with the children and from then on she always wanted to be with us. She always said it was the highlight of her summer. You can tell she really enjoys working with the little ones,” Rivera said.
“I made bonds with the children and love them so much,” Amy said. “I wanted to see them again and they wanted to see me again.”
Naturally, she was pleased Rosetta Stone was a hit with the students. “I think they enjoyed it. It was something different,” she said. “I got to see the progress they made – and they really did make a lot of progress. They could really learn their basic vocabulary easier.”
The language program was assigned to students in grades three and higher, Rivera said, students whose primary language is Spanish or Arabic. The Rosetta Stone licenses will be used all school year by students at Northwest, Pink Hill, Banks and La Grange elementary schools and by an eighth-grader at Contentnea-Savannah K8 School.
“We think of it as a supplementary activity children will be able to use after school at home,” Rivera said. “It’s a great additional thing to have available for them.”
As for the $300, Rivera set it aside in an account at Pink Hill to be available for next summer. “LCPS provides us with what we need,” she said, “but there is always something else we can use out of that account.”
The cash donation and the online learning tool may have been a goodbye gift from a college-bound high school senior to a summer program where she has become a fixture. Asked if this summer was probably her last at Pink Hill, Amy Edwards could not help sounding wistful when she answered, “It might have been.”